Last December, the highly-anticipated biopic film Being The Ricardos saw a limited release in theaters. Days later, it hit Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service. Aron Sorkin is the one who dealt with the turbulence between I Love Lucy stars Desi Arnaz and Lucille Balle.
Nicole Kidman plays Ball and Javier Bardem, as assassin Anton Chigurh from 2007s No Country For Old Men, portrays Arnaz. While the film receives positive reviews, with most critics praising Kidman in particular for her portrayal of Ball. Not everyone is glowing things to say about the accuracy of the film’s script. Lucille Ball’s daughter, despite being supportive of its production, gets several BIG problems with the film.
Regardless of complaints, Ricardos nominates for three Academy Awards, three Golden Globes, and a slew of other awards and accolades.
I Love Lucy and its stars practically defines what the sitcom is suppose to look like. For their contributions to that iconic program, Desi and Lucille helped set the tone of the entire 1950s. The show has since gone down in history as one of the most influential programs to ever hit the airwaves. It’s no surprise that people want to get a behind-the-scenes look that shows the landmark success story that it become.
Join Facts Verse as we detail what Being the Ricardos got right and what it got wrong.
Controversial From Day One
Long before its release Being the Ricardos is already making headlines. The criticism got to be so intense that Kidman consider exiting the film before Aaron Sorkin take over as director.
Javier Bardem plays Arnez drew a controversy, as an actor, a Cuban-born star views as being offensive to many netizens. Scandals that rain down on the film on its development, its able to persevere and continue on in its production. Lucie Arnaz, who receives a production credit on the film and stand behind Sorkin’s vision from the get-go.
But even Lucie Arnaz isn’t completely vend on all of Sorkin’s directorial and writing choices. One of the conflict is to show special moments in her parent’s relationship as taking place during the same production.
In the film, she finds out that she’s pregnant, same time that the gossip starts running about Arnaz’s infidelity. To top all that off, Lucille is also accuses of being communist. While all of these things happen, they didn’t finished within the same 7-day window as the film presents.
Things that she finds to be inaccurate in which Sorkin’s film presents Ball’s intense sense of work ethic. Lucie remembers how her parent’s passionate, troubles in relationship, and its inevitable breakdown. It’s only half the story of what really is going on when the cameras aren’t rolling.
Early in their careers, Ball and Arnaz are contract slaves to their respective studios. They manage to free themselves of the constraints of the studio system. Achieving another shot at stardom when they embrace the then-new medium of TV.
Enjoying this video so far? Show your support by giving it a like subscribing to the Facts Verse channel. Keep watching to see a few other ways that Being the Ricardos capture the reality of what is happening behind-the-scenes of I Love Lucy and a few other ways where it fell short.
Lucille Ball – The Queen of B Movies?
During one memorable scene in Being the Ricardos, Lucille says that she’s active in show business since she’s a child. Though not necessarily what really happens.
Aspires as an actress since she’s a teen, Ball didn’t show up in Tinsel Town until she’s in her 20s. In 1933, she landed her first role playing one of the Goldwyn Girls in Roman Scandals. Before that, when she is 17, she is attending the same drama school in New York City as Bette Davis. Though Ball describes that experience as being rather miserable.
She didn’t have what it took to be an actress. Ball work for fashion legend Hattie Carnegie who’s with the stars like Gloria Swanson, Joan Bennett, and Joan Crawford. In the process, she picked up a few valuable pointers that would later come in handy once she started acting.
Kidman portrays Ball as someone as typecast as being the ‘Queen of the B’s’ – or low-budget films that is pointless.
To be fair, this was a situation that the real Ball did actually go through early on in her acting career. Fortunately, however, once she had managed to break away from the studios that tied her down to a series of lackluster features, she was eventually able to shine in her element once she made the jump to television. It was on TV that she really got to show off her physical comedy chops.
Lucie Arnaz Wanted Scenes Removed The Film
Talking to the Hollywood Reporter, Ball’s daughter reveals that after reading Being the Ricardo’s script, there are several scenes that she wants to be scrap because they ‘never happened’. Fortunately, one of these scenes is never shot because the day that it is suppose to filmed, the sprinklers went off and destroyed everything on the set.
We already mentioned how Arnaz found Sorkin’s choice to cram everything into a single week to be problematic, but she also found some of the flashback scenes to be lacking. Granted, she acknowledges that the director took some creative license to make it all work.
One thing that she praise Sorkin for is the scripts dialogue and how her father’s treatment of her mother is depict. At the end of the day, Lucie said that she believed that the depictions of her parents were ‘accurate composites’. She also praised his casting choices – despite the fact that the people of the internet seemed to having nothing nice to say about them.
Talking about Kidman, Arnaz had extra praise to give her. On the two days that she was able to visit the film’s set during it’s filming, she got to watch Kidman play her mother in several 1930s and 40s set flashback sequences.
Arnaz said that Kidman was able to accurately capture what her mother was really like before she had become ‘Lucy of Lucy Ricardo Fame‘. She went on to say that the actress had poise and class while stepping into the role.
How Lucille and Desi Met
When researching how much of Being the Ricardos was true,we learned that Ball had met the Cuban bandleader in 1940 while filming an adaptation of the Rodgers and Hart Broadway musical Too Many Girls. The day after they met, Ball and Arnaz had already developed a very strong connection with each other. Less than a year later, they eloped.
In the film, their relationship is indeed depict as starting in such a way, although it’s only briefly mention.
Later in the film, it’s suggested that Ball had only agreed to star in I Love Lucy if her husband could be her co-star. That’s another thing Being the Ricardos got right. Back during those days, the network brass and sponsors were pretty xenophobic, which made them pretty leery to get behind a program that presented an interracial marriage. This was the 1950s we’re talking about, after all.
After being told that the public would never believe that she was married to Arnaz, Lucille and Desi set out on a cross-country tour performing a vaudeville-style show. The tour was so successful and the public was so accepting of the two that CBS eventually agreed to greenlight the show.
Ball and Arnaz became the first interracial couple to appear on television. They also shared the first interracial kiss to ever air in America.
Lucille Ball Was The First Pregnant Woman On TV
After watching Being the Ricardos, you might be wondering if Ball really was the first woman to appear pregnant on Television. That would be yet another thing that the film got right. When Lucille became pregnant with her second child in 1952, her pregnancy would be would be woven into the plotline of I Love Lucy. This would mark the first time in television history that a woman would appear pregnant on one of the major networks.
After consulting the network censors and several church leaders, the show was only allowed to use the phrase ‘expecting’ rather than the word ‘pregnant’ which at the time was considered to be too risque for television.
Desi Really Did Warm Up The Audience Before Each Episode
I Love Lucy was shot before a live studio audience of about 300 or so people. Most attendees were tourists visiting Hollywood hoping to get a chance to see a taping of one of their favorite shows. Just as depicted in the film, Desi Arnaz really would serve as an emcee of sorts in order to warm up the crowd. Of course, this also involved introducing the I Love Lucy cast to the studio audience.
A couple other things that Being the Ricardos got right include how Ball really was accused of being a communist in 1953 and Desi Arnaz’s rampant infidelity. Arnaz was a well-known womanizer who took every chance he could get to sleep around. Eventually, this led to his and Ball’s marriage failing. They eventually divorced in 1960, but even before that, Lucille had filed for divorce in 1944, although she never followed through with it.
Can you think of any other details of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s life that Being the Ricardos accurately presented? And can you think of any that the film got dead wrong? Let us know in the comments.
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